By Garren McCloud
Maintaining consistent membership can be one of the more frustrating parts of leading a choir. I’m not just talking about people going on vacation in the summer, even though that can be frustrating too. I’m talking about those times when you find membership at an all-time low. If you’ve ever directed a choir, you’ve been there. Here are a few suggestions to keep your choir from shrinking and help it grow.
Step outside the hymnal
There is not a step-by-step process to help you gain more members. However, it can be a chance for you to reevaluate the things that make your choir enticing, specifically to the younger generation. Take a look at the music you sing. If you don’t sing anything written after 1973, you may have found your problem. Younger church members tend to gravitate more toward the newer music.
This doesn’t mean stop singing hymns. They are the foundation of choir music. It does mean you may need to start singing some newer songs. I promise, you can sing songs by Bill Gaither and Chris Tomlin in the same church service and still be able to worship. You have to remember: Even the older hymns were new at one time. If you show younger singers in your church that you are open to doing music they like, then they will be more inclined to join the choir.
Choose rehearsal time wisely
The lack of younger singers may not be the only problem. Take a look at your rehearsal. Some people may want to sing but can’t because of rehearsal time or because they don’t have childcare during rehearsal. You may need to take a poll and see when the best day and time for rehearsal would be. The more convenient it is for people, the more likely they are to join!
Spread the word
Many people may simply not know that the choir is accepting new members. A lot of times, all someone needs to decide to join the choir is to be asked. There are many ways to make choir recruitment fun and exciting. One suggestion is to hold a new members day where you can invite anyone interested in joining the choir to sit in on rehearsal. Another idea is to hold a game night and invite potential choir members to come hang out and enjoy the fellowship.
If you are going to post something on social media or in the church bulletin, make sure that it is an alluring advertisement that communicates the necessary information and shares how great it is to be a part of the choir.
It’s never fun when a once big and thriving choir dwindles down to almost no one. Things are different in churches now and, to some people, choirs are becoming unappealing. You can change that. Don’t be too afraid or too stubborn to make the necessary changes needed to make your choir great again.
About the author:
Garren McCloud is a Regional Sales Rep. at Brentwood Benson and a dedicated member of Christ Church Choir in Nashville. Previous to working at Brentwood Benson, Garren received a degree in Music Business from Lee University where he sang in Voices of Lee. Garren enjoys playing golf, cheering on the Atlanta Braves, and spending time with his wife, Sarah.